The golden voice that was Whitney Houston was silenced this Saturday when she died unexpectedly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at the age of 48. Her publicist Kristen Foster confirmed her death and no other information, such as cause of death, was released to the press.
Houston was in Los Angeles for Clive Davis’ annual Grammy party which was scheduled that same night. Davis, Houston’s long time mentor and the one who discovered her many years ago at the tender age of 19, is said to be devastated by her sudden death but attended his party and paid tribute to her at the event. "Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on" said Davis.
During the 1980s and ’90s, Houston provided the theme songs for many of my memories as well as others around the world. Her beautiful vocals were the type that several in the music industry pray for but seldom achieve. Without the use of computers and other sound enhancements she belted out some of the world best known songs including “You Give Good Love,” “How Will I Know,” “I Will Always Love You” and my favorite, “Saving All My Love for You.”
It is ironic to me that she would die the night before the Grammys where she has had so much success. She won six Grammy awards and also received; two Emmy awards, 30 Billboard Music awards, 22 American Music awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston was also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide.
After a rocky marriage to singer Bobby Brown, she became a tabloid story, withered by drug use, erratic behavior and faulty performances. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she confessed to abusing cocaine, marijuana and pills.
Houston did a stint in rehab, divorced Brown and in 2009 she released her final album “I Look to You” whose title single along with the track “Million Dollar Bill” entered the Billboard charts at number one. I thought “Whitney is back” and for a time she was back indeed. The album went gold and it was her first top charting album in a decade. She went on tour and was beginning to show signs of the Whitney that everyone loved so dearly. However during her European tour video surfaced of her less than stellar performances and rumors begin to surface that she was back to using drugs. The tour was cancelled early and she was spotted a few times stateside not looking her best.
Yet I still hoped for the best and when I saw her gearing up for the movie Sparkle I noticed that she had put on weight and was really looking good. The news of her death was a total shock to me and so many others around the world.
There will be several tributes to Houston today and throughout the coming months. She is very well deserving of them all. I will pray for her mother as I know how painful the loss of a child can be. I will put on my Whitney Houston music and remember so many wonderful memories of how her songs played so many roles in my life. Rest in peace Whitney…rest in peace.